Hey! So you may notice a shiny new website around here. We're still doing some tweaks here and there and while I loved our old website this one has some rad new features. The raddest being...you can now select exactly which flavours you'd like for us to place into your beautiful gift boxes! YAY! Oh, and you can also add our fabulous new own tea blends and fabulous hot chocolates to further spoil yourself or anyone else!
Anyhoo, that's real geeky techy stuff we can finally get on with now that we've hung up the dungarees from building our FIRST SHOP! After 14 arduous weeks of gutting, building, and decorating, Anges de Sucre is finally open at 1 Holland Street, Kensington, London W8 4NA. What felt like a ridiculously long time now seems so long ago and it is so incredible to look back at what it was while looking around us now!
We started with an empty shell with great expectations. An empty shell that needed extensive works immediately.
Having no previous experience in building in the UK we went by online recommendations and sadly ended up with dodgy traders stealing our money, tiles, fuse boxes, anything. It was a battle we sadly weren't able to see an end to as these particular conmen were so adept at manipulating us into believing we needed them and no one else could do the job. After weeks of sleepless nights, we got cameras in, caught them in action, fired them, got threatened with power tools in return, called the police and got them out. Please be assured that no Anges were physically hurt during all this! Just mentally and emotionally wrought...like really twisty rusty old iron.
So what do we do? We pull our socks up, get some cool floral dungarees and take power tools into our own hands. I had to close the kitchen intermittently (sorry!) in order to get drilling and sawing. To keep the transformation of the space as a surprise (and to hide all the mess that was inside) my friend Erin from BerinMade created a beautiful window vinyl design incorporating my favourite blooms, fruit, and macaron illustrations. Why am I making a big deal of this? Because it took 5 hours to put up! Seriously, window vinyl sticking is a serious skill.
To celebrate a sign of sorts going up, we announced a little sweepstakes for a window #selfie to win a Grande Gift Box of macarons. There were some BRILLIANT entries including love birds, floral crowns and a floral schnauzer pooch too! And the winner (by random name in bowl draw) is...[drumroll]...@theflowerbird! Congrats Sarah! And thank you to all my lovely friends and followers for your beautiful entries. You will not believe how much your photos cheered me up during this process!
#Selfie fun aside it was back to grubby business shifting rubble, drilling holes, filling holes, sanding walls and all that. After taking things into our own hands we had some short-lived relief of ridding ourselves of the dodgy dealers but soon realised we were very far from opening with just two pairs of tired paws. Out of despair I sent a panicked message to our closest friends not expecting much in return at such short notice other than sympathy (which has also been appreciated). I was so surprised with the overwhelming and unanimous response of 'What time?' that I cried. What a sap. They're friends of ours from different phases of our lives - uni mates, old work mates, mates of mates, and they all came after their gruelling day jobs one school night with their game face on and helped us get over so much lost time, finally breathing a new lease of life into the project that I will forever be grateful for. And all that just in exchange for pizza! What a bargain ;) and what amazing mates!
So with project 1 Holland Street well on its way again we could finally see the flickering light at the end of the dusty tunnel. The fun decorating and real transformation starts taking shape!
We then got the sickest, blingest, most BEAUTIFUL coffee machine installed - the Kees Van der Westen Spirit, and I got to play with it!
Next up, hiring. After years of depending on no one but ourselves it was pretty daunting to even begin the process. If we have had any luck at all throughout this journey, it's been with our recruitment. One of our favourite baristas from another coffee shop we were regulars at applied (not knowing it was us hiring!) as did another from the same shop and it all just fell into place. So with awesome baristas on board and not much else other than fabulous Coutume coffee we decided to open just for a day to introduce ourselves to the locals.
With some local buzz going we start adding the fun finishing touches and filling up our shelves with our own tea blends...YES OUR OWN TEA BLENDS! Alongside some amazing hot chocolates you would've ever had in the sweetest packaging EVER.
I roped in yet more talented friends I've made along the way to help out with aforementioned finishing touches. What was a pretty boring mirror has been transformed into the coolest and prettiest #floralselfie (I do like a good #selfie) mirror EVER by Ceri from Olofson Design (cake maker/baker extraordinaire by day, muralist by night) hand painting intricate little birdies perched on gold leaf gilded branches flocking towards a bright floral nest mirror frame created by Liz from Blue Sky Flowers.
Even photo-phobic PB couldn't resist a faceless #selfie!
With shelves stacked, coffee machine hooked up, and baristas on board...we OPENED! And wow what a crazy rush opening day was. Starting at the crack of dawn, with a 04:00 am run to the wholesalers and fruit market traders, to finally pulling Erin's beautiful vinyl down to reveal all the lovely inside, I have never felt so exhilarated and energised despite very little sleep.
Pretty awkward having a macaron shop with no macarons, but during the first few weeks of opening we very quickly gained ourselves loyal coffee regulars and also the reputation of serving 'the best coffee in Kensington' with some folk even saying 'the best coffee in LONDON'! Whoaaaaa! RIDICULOUSLY HAPPY FACE! Not just for receiving such great feedback but also as the shop finally opening signified the opening of my new and bigger kitchen again! I ditched the dungarees, donned my chef whites, and started getting our range of Signature Classic macarons in, as well as our new fluffier-than-clouds marshmallows in store!
In addition to our Signature Classics, we also got to work on introducing NEW Signature Experience flavours such as Nuts-about-Ella (hazelnut butter and dark chocolate, topped with milk chocolate and crushed hazelnuts), and All Americana (bananas and organic peanut butter, topped with white chocolate and chopped peanuts)!
This is the really fun bit - when friends and family (and myself) pop in store, pat our backs and take #floralselfies!
And the other fun bit was decorating the shop window with Liz! You will not believe how many macarons were harmed during this process...
Macarons, mallows, fun and frolics aside...we must be the only fools on the planet who literally built a shop inside-out! We were the Shop with No Name. It just so happened that Liz introduced us to Harriet of Harriet Parry Flowers when flower-jazzling up the shop window and we enticed Harriet into painting on our shop front. And...umm...OH EMM GEEE..we don't just have a name on our shop front (although I clearly am very excited about it)...
There it is - the MOST amazing-gorgeous-beautiful mural on a shop front I have ever seen! With intricately hand painted birds carrying on from Ceri's theme inside, my favourite blooms again and also berries and citrus fruit (common ingredients in our products) along with cute macarons creeping up, this is just STUNNING.
If anyone had advised me in advance that this build was going to involve cowboy builders breaking into our property to steal our lovely marble tiles holding us at drill-point, rogue traders stealing our data, a diet consisting mainly of medium quarter pounder meals, budgets quadrupling, with some random racism thrown in for good measure...I still wouldn't have changed a thing. This project has been unlike anything I have done and even though we have experienced a lot of difficult times and difficult people and no doubt will continue to do so, I've been able to create a beautiful space (and grow very thick skin!) serving our products and making people smile on a daily basis.
So dear friends, family, and followers - 1 Holland Street, Kensington, London W8 4NA is here and open DAILY! Please come and let us transport you to a world of pretty and smiles :).
I look forward to seeing you here!
Lots of love,